The Sator Square
Originated from ancient folk tradition, the enigmatic, comprehensible-incomprehensible formula sator arepotenet opera rotas has proven a tenacious vitality throughout the centuries. The properties, to which it owes itsimportance, become apparent, when one arranges the ﬁve ﬁve-letter words, so that they merge into a square.
Like a shielded adornment, or more precise almost like a shield itself, the words are standing here, held tightand secured by the fact, that they result in the same sentence, when viewed from the 4 corners in bothhorizontal and vertical way, and in four of eight cases even result in the same sequence of words.Furthermore interlocked and decorated through the cross framed by the holy letters A & O , as which the doubleTENET presents itself in the middle of the square block. It is understandable, that such a formation was highlyvalued at all times, when one believed in the secret power of letters and words, and that it, in its untouchableunity, could be seen as a magic potion, through which all evil was kept away.But where, as in science, the belief in the spellbinding power of words is missing, the life, that resides within theformula, manifests itself, in so far, that it awakens the restlessness of an initially clueless questioning, ineveryone who approaches it.The numerous works, that have been written about it in recent years, show, how much this disquiet is being feltespecially during these times.Some lucky ﬁnds have occurred, in just these years. In the West as in the East of the Roman Empire, inPompeii and in the place Dura (=Europos) on the Euphrates, the formula has appeared in multiple renditions.Not only has the geographical distribution been illuminated through this, but it results also in new time limits:The Inscriptions of Dura, where the Roman occupation only lasted until the year 256, should date back to theearly third century, the inscriptions of Pompeii, which was buried under the Ashes of Vesuvius in the Year 79,even seem to date back to the middle of the ﬁrst century of the Christian era. No less important is, however, thatin all these inscriptions, the words are recorded in a different sequence, than it was customary during latertimes:R O T A SO P E R AT E N E TA R E P OS A T O RSince such a sequence beginning with ROTAS instead of SATOR, also can be encountered on an inscriptionfrom the fourth century, that has been found earlier in England - it has hitherto been the oldest knownrepresentation of the formula - , it is quite possible, that such an unusual, in its structure seemingly "unlatin",version was quite common in antiquity.When trying to interpret the formula, one may naturally only consider the early antique Version. One can claimeven less, that the words make proper sense, just as they present themselves to the impartial eye, with thisearly version, than with the late- or post-antique restructuring, where at least the sequence of Subject,Predicate and Object doesn't stir up concerns, but the strange word AREPO remains as questionable as ever.Although one was convinced to be able to handle the AREPO with some certainty.If one didn't just explain it as a proper name, one saw it e.g. as a Celtic word, belonging to the testiﬁedarepennis, a Gallic soil measurement, and accordingly either referred to land and soil or the plow, or oneunderstood it - to mention one of the newer interpretations - as an otherwise unrecorded Latin noun, that wouldhave been badly transformed from the word arripere. The formula should then say:"The Sower holds tight the wheels with diligence on the plow ﬁeld ( or on the plow) "or with reference to a vision of Ezekiel :